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June 11, 2020

Engaging Remote Employees During COVID-19 & Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented changes for many, if not all, industries. As social distancing is encouraged and with stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders issued, many employees are working from home. Even as restrictions lighten, many will continue to work remotely in this new normal.

For some employees, working from home is business as usual. For others, this may be the first time they’ve telecommuted. This working arrangement may seem exciting at first, but it can lose its luster over time, resulting in disengaged employees. And, when employees aren’t engaged, their productivity and motivation can suffer.

The following are six ways managers and other leaders can keep employees engaged while they work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

1. Prioritize Communication

Remote employees can often feel like they’re left out of the loop. As such, it’s important for managers to communicate on a daily basis. Consider scheduling a daily check-in to see how employees are doing and if you can do anything to help them meet deadlines or provide any assistance. Be sure to communicate any important company news as it presents itself, as well.

2. Set Clear Expectations

Set clear expectations of your employees while they work from home. Employees who are aware of your expectations will be more motivated and feel more accountable to meet them. If you want employees to be online for specific hours of the day, communicate that. If you want a daily report of what they are working on, be sure to ask.

3. Recognize Good Work

Recognizing and rewarding employees for their hard work is a key factor in boosting engagement among remote employees. Employee recognition can take many different forms, but the main goal is to incentivize continued productivity and dedication. For example, you could send out a companywide email detailing an employee’s exceptional achievement. Or, it could be as simple as a personal thank-you note.

4. Encourage Work-Life Balance

Remote employees may have difficulty establishing a healthy work-life balance. Because there may not be a physical separation between their workspace and their personal space, employees may feel like they need to be available for work 24/7, which can lead to unnecessary stress and, eventually, burnout. Make suggestions as to how they can maintain their physical and mental wellbeing, for example, having a set lunch break or taking walking breaks every few hours.

5. Demonstrate a Collaborative Culture

Employees tend to be more engaged when they feel like they’re part of a team. When they’re working from home, it can be hard for them to buy into that mentality. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to make sure employees understand that even though you may not be in the office together, you’re all working together toward the same common goal. Perhaps have
a weekly team check-in call or video conference.

6. Leverage Technology

48% of employees wish that their workplace technology performed the same as their personal technology, according to a Coleman Parkes Research survey. Check out our guide on how the savvy use of responsive design supports an engaged workforce. Leveraging technology in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic can help keep employees healthy and productive. For example, have your team update their availability on Skype, Microsoft Teams, etc. and keep their online calendars current. Use online shared project tools so your team can stay apprised of each other’s progress and the like.

By keeping these six tips in mind, your organization can keep your remote employees engaged, happy and productive during the pandemic and beyond.

By COREY PAYNE | cpayne@cbiz.com | 540.853.8081


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